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Archive for May 10th, 2014

I attended a budget session this morning. I guess the Council’s big idea to manage the budget is to cut our Community and Economic Development Director, cut the proposed HR Secretary, cut the Corporation Counsel’s only staff person, and reduce the Recreation Department Assistant’s salary. I asked if they’d discussed these changes with Department Heads… ahhhh, NO. I was forbidden to speak at the meeting. These changes will dramatically impact operations and do little to change the property tax rate, but that does not seem to concern the Council.

Do you think this may be political?

When asked if they have a Plan B for Transportation, which has been bleeding $250K a year from the General Fund, the Fourth Ward Alderwoman stated that they’d look at it if worse comes to worse. Hmmm, rather than plan for any contingency, they are going to wait and see. Please understand that I began discussing this shortfall with the newly elected council in November of 2013. I asked them to please examine this situation and come up with suggestions to address this as we were about to embark on the budget process. They promptly set about with their four-month war over golf contracts, the Golf Commission, Shuttleworth Park and Spring Fling.

So, there’s no plan for growth and they’re cutting our economic development person just as this year’s round of funding is due in 20 days, NY Rising is in its final stages, we’re up to our chins in Brownfield neighborhood rehabilitation planning, land bank management, waterfront redevelopment and creation of a new code enforcement initiative with Schenectady. They’re dicing Corporation Council’s secretary in charge of managing office operations, scheduling and is the same individual that ensures $30,000 in traffic tickets are processed a year, solely to undermine the attorney’s ability to function effectively. They’re slicing the salary of the Recreation Department Assistant responsible year around for events management, regular email, social media and website updates, coordination of activities at the Arts Center, Bacon Rec Center, community garden and summer camp, and facilitates all programming for youth and families (the position brought in $80,000 in sponsorships last year.)

I’ve never witnessed such irresponsible governance in my life. I hope people are outraged. This group is downright destructive.

The public hearing on the budget is on Tuesday night at 6pm, though after today’s discussion, it is doubtful that this council will make their changes public before that time. TAKE ACTION! Come to that meeting and stand up to this nonsense!

Contact your alderperson and let them know they’re supposed to be working for you, not playing partisan games. To contact the aldermen, call or email them at the following:

First Ward: Ed Russo
332-8645
russo@amsterdamny.gov.

Second Ward: Valerie Beekman
842-1430
vbeekman@amsterdamny.gov.

Third Ward: Ron Barone
842-1105
rbarone@amsterdamny.gov.

Fourth Ward: Diane Hatzenbuhler
842-2490
dhatzenbuhler@amsterdamny.gov

Fifth Ward: Rich Leggiero
843-0808
rleggiero@amsterdamny.gov.

Of course, you can always drop a letter in the mail addressed to the entire Common Council.
Send to: Common Council, City Hall, 61 Church Street, Amsterdam, NY 12010

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